The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D Review

Zelda Title

 Title: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
Developer: Nintendo, Grezzo
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Game Type: 3DS
NA Availability: 
Digital Download | Retail

EU Availability: Digital Download | Retail

Nintendo has had a habit of remaking its older console games on new handheld systems.  If you recall, they had ported over many of the SNES Mario games on the Game Boy Advance.  Then the Nintendo DS came and it got remakes of Diddy Kong Racing and Super Mario 64.  The 3DS has had no lack of remakes, either.  To bring some to mind, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and Xenoblade Chronicles have both gotten remakes on the 3DS, not to mention the Pokemon Alpha and Sapphire remakes.

Among remakes, though, are remakes of games that people have incredibly high praise for.  Super Mario 64 DS, for example, was a remake of one of the highest praised Mario games on the Nintendo 64, and potentially among the series in general.  The first remake the Nintendo 3DS got, however was of a game that many people hold as the greatest game of all time.  Here is my review of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D!

Story

Zelda Story

There is rarely a Zelda fan out there that doesn’t know the entire story of Ocarina of Time by heart.  Link is a small boy growing up in the Kokiri Village, protected by the divine being, the Deku Tree.  On one fateful day, he is given a fairy companion and sent out into the land of Hyrule to work with Zelda, the Princess of Hyrule.  Their task is to make sure her prophecy of the world coming to an end by a man called Ganondorf does not come to pass.

Ocarina of Time has a lot of story dialogue in it, as you go through towns and dungeons to find the items you need to progress the story.  We’re not talking an RPG’s length of story, but quite a bit for a series that focuses more on gameplay than story.  Ocarina of Time’s storyline is interesting and unique, showing a lot of different races as well as a time travel element much like Chrono Trigger used.

I won’t call Ocarina’s story award-winning, because the dialogue is certainly showing its age compared to newer Zelda titles.  Despite its age, though, it still proves to be an entertaining trek for any Zelda or Nintendo fan.

Gameplay

Zelda Game 2

Ocarina of Time is the source of one of the biggest genre debates in gaming.  Some people think it’s an Action RPG.  Others think it’s just an adventure game.  What I would call it is an Action-Adventure game with puzzle elements thrown into the mix.  While it’s true that it has a ton of extra content you can do like many RPGs have, it’s much more action game than RPG.

The first order of business is to discuss what is new in this remake.  There are a few changes to the game, like some areas having different environments (like the bottom of the well).  There are also some balancing like extra inscriptions on walls to make the Water Temple a little easier and pink fairies replenish more health than in the original game.  It also includes Shiekah Stones and Boss Rush Mode.  The stones give you hints on where to go next and Boss Rush allows you to fight the game’s bosses in succession even after fighting them in the story.

When you play the game, you will have the huge world of Hyrule open to you, but with certain areas blocked off without certain items or key parts of the game at your disposal.  As soon as you can go into Hyrule Field, you can explore Kakariko Village, Lon Lon Ranch, Hyrule Castle, the list goes on.  But there are some areas that cannot be reached without meeting certain requirements.  Thankfully, the game has your Fairy to give you little hints on where to go.

Zelda Game 1

Progressing through the story will be a matter of being hinted at what to do next and then doing it and key items will be gained as you find the areas where you need to go.  At first, this is pretty easy to understand.  In the second half of the game, though, there will be a bit of puzzle-solving in the mix, making you explore and talk to NPCs to figure out where you need to go.  This isn’t impossible, but if you haven’t played the game before, it can take quite some time to figure out where certain areas are to get key items to unlock where you need to go.

Dungeon crawling will be the major aspect of the game.  Like all Zelda titles, you have a set of key items to get to progress the major story and each of those items is awarded to you when you complete a dungeon.  While it takes a good deal of time to find and gain access to dungeons, there is a great deal of time being inside dungeons.  As you go through dungeons, you’ll be puzzle-solving and fighting enemies until you reach its boss and take it down to obtain your special key item.

This is where the depth of the game comes into play.  Every dungeon has puzzles you need to solve, and many puzzles that require an item hidden inside the dungeon to solve.  For example, the Water Temple has many areas that require the Longshot to reach, but you have to puzzle-solve around the temple to get to where the Longshot is.  Along with this, you’ll be fighting enemies and mini-bosses throughout each dungeon as part of the puzzle-solving towards finding your key items.

There are other elements involved, too, but I can’t detail them very much as they would give away some of the spoilers of the game’s story.  But each type of new skill you acquire with key items or locations is used in some way in the overall scheme of things to unlocking the next area.  As before, these are all hinted, so they shouldn’t be too hard to understand how to do.

Across the entire game, you should expect to be putting about 20 hours or so, depending on how well-versed in the game you are.  If you rush through without doing side stuff, you could probably clear it in less than 15 hours, but it’s a lengthy game, regardless.

Controls

Ocarina of Time 3D uses both the buttons on the 3DS as well as the touch screen and gyro controls.  The touch controls are partially optional and the gyro controls are completely optional.  However, some of the touch controls for inventory are not optional.  Two item slots are touch-only since the N64 version could allocate so many items at once with the four C buttons.  Meaning, you can use two equipped items with buttons and two with touch.  The Ocarina is also automatically put on the touch screen.

Another thing of note is the New 3DS.  Unlike Majora’s Mask 3D, Ocarina of Time cannot use the ZL, ZR, or C Stick controls.  You’re stuck using buttons that were on the original 3DS models.  It’s not a huge deal, but with the finicky camera controls, it would have been nice to have dual analog options.

Moving Link is locked to the Circle Pad, so you cannot use the D-Pad for basic movement.  The D-Pad isn’t used in the game for much of anything.  The L and R triggers are used for Lock-On/Targeting and the Shield, respectively.  The A and B buttons are used for actions and your sword.  Then, the X and Y buttons are used for set items like bombs or the boomerang.

This control scheme works pretty well with the game, though I would prefer to not have the Ocarina locked to the touch screen.  The only downer is the bit of clunkiness that comes from the game’s camera.  You have to constantly hit L to redirect the camera and it gets stuck in walls every so often, making some boss fights more difficult than they should be.  It’s workable, but a bit of an annoyance at times.

Presentation

Zelda Presentation

Visually, this is one of the nicest looking 3D games I’ve played on the 3DS.  It is worlds ahead of the original Nintendo 64 version.  In that game, Link had a triangle for a nose that looked like a bird’s beak.  This is much more smooth, detailed, and colorful.  There are some jagged edges you’ll see, but for a 3DS game, it looks pretty nice.

Performance is also running well.  Load Times are short, just like in the original game.   I found no problems with performance as I played through the game.  The frame rate is nice, and although the audio was taken from the original game, it still fits into the game nicely.

Summary

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is a faithful remake of the classic Nintendo 64 game.  On the downside, the camera is still clunky and a bit of an annoyance.  Outside of that is a fine way to get into the Zelda series and a great way to experience what many hold as one of the greatest games ever made.

9/10

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